Monday, April 28, 2008

Greetings from Florida!

Just a quick post to let you all know that I haven't curled up into a little ball as I wait for April to end :)

I'm in Florida this week for a work conference. My coworker and I arrived on Saturday after two very-delayed flights. The conference is ok (the food is GREAT!), but it's a little lonely b/c while there are many from my organization here, only one or two of them are close coworkers. I'm also not used to being away from home and wine costs around $9/glass! But, again, I'm in Florida, and some of the sessions are good.

I'm a little nervous because tomorrow morning is the awards ceremony, and I am my organization's nominee for Unsung Hero of the Year. It's silly, but I know I'm unlikely to win, and that embarrasses me. I have to sit at a special table, and I hate being under a spotlight like that, which is actually odd since I happily and enthusiastically did theater in high school and college. I know my organization won't care if I don't win, but I'm afraid this is the only thing I'll ever be nominated for by one chance so-to-speak. Oh well. It will all be over by 10 am. So think of me between 9:30 and 10:00.

And on top of everything else, I can't even relax fully because my final projects of the semester are due on Friday and try as I might, I could not get them finished up before the conference. So I've been spending all my spare time doing homework. Which I should be doing now...

Have a good week!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Fresh Hell is This?

I appreciate all of your commiseration on the cholesterol issue. I'm going to try to worry about it less; it's not like I don't have a billion other things to worry about! I've convinced myself that it's possible it's a side effect of the Effexor I am taking (according to Google), and I've added fish oil and almonds to my diet, and I'll worry about it more once things are a bit more settled. That's all I can do for now.

April has truly been a very, very odd, weird, rough month and just keeps getting odder and rougher. If I believed in karma, I would think that I need to have mine cleansed.

First of all, Authentic Happiness. I attended a session on authentic happiness at our organizational development meeting on Friday, and it was a mistake. I disagreed with the facilitator's definition of happiness (a life well-lived, a life of virtue), and he rubbed me the wrong way by telling us being happy is preferable to being depressed because people don't want to be around unhappy, depressed people (don't I know it). Talk about blaming the victim! So it's my fault no one wants to be around me? No wonder my support system is lacking. Gee, let me just put on a happy face. He struck a nerve b/c that is something that has bothered me for a long time. Of course I want to be happy! But I believe happiness is a very personal thing and will differ from person to person. I also rebel against the idea that the goal is to be shiny, happy people. Bad things happen! Life isn't pretty. I'm not sure how I can overcome it to be happy right now. Not happy as he defines it. And I'm tired of people expecting us to hide any less-than-happy feelings. I believe that invalidates our situation and how we feel. Ugh.

Secondly, I arrived home to find a thick envelope like what an invitation would come in. I noticed the Georgia return address and felt a bit shaky. In November 2007, I wrote this about my best friend and her new boyfriend:
I received a bit of a shock from one of my friends yesterday. She wanted my
blessing to date a guy with whom I have some history. The three of us were very
close friends in high school, and while he and I didn't date, we have...history.
It sort of didn't end well. The two of them have remained friends, and they
recently decided to try dating, and she wanted to make sure it was ok with me. I
was floored. I never, ever expected the two of them would get together. It
doesn't really bother me, but it is weird. I believe that he has always wanted
to be with her, which sort of disconcerts me because I wonder if he ever cared
for me at all. And suddenly I'm back in high school, feeling second best to
everyone and in everything. It's odd how things work because I had already
realized that our infertility reminded me of how I felt in high school: left
out, not fitting in, weird, hoping and waiting to be in a place where I
belonged. And now my friend is dating a guy who was a big part of my high school
years. Wow. Life is strange.

I opened the envelope, expecting an invitation to their wedding. It turns out it was an announcement of their MARRIAGE. In FEBRUARY of 2008. WTF? You mean they've been married for two months and I'm only now hearing about it? How did I go from being a bridesmaid when she was engaged before to not even rating an email or phone call? I was shocked. And they've only been dating for a few months! Why the quick wedding? Ahhh, I bet she's pregnant. But my friend is rather outspoken and would have told me. What is going on? I still couldn't get past the 2 month delay in notification.

I emailed her and finally heard back from her yesterday: yep, she's pregnant. I'm assuming that's the reason for the wedding. She's also been really sick with a kidney infection, hospitalization, adverse effects to medication, etc., which is what delayed notification. I'm still stunned. Of all the people in my life, she was the last one I expected this announcement from. The history of the three of us made the situation awkward already, but add in her pregnancy, and I feel like someone slapped me. In November, I was able to find a rare empathy with her as we commiserated over feeling left out and not where you thought your life would be (her: broken engagement; me: infertility). And now only a few months later, she's got it all. I'm still trying to wrap my head around all this. He lives in NC, and she will be moving to join him in July, and his house is kind of near my mother's house in my hometown. This just keeps getting better and better.

And to make a great day even better, I had an email from our surro telling me that she found a lump in her breast. She went to the doctor immediately, and he thinks it is a fatty deposit common after childbirth, but she needs to have it aspirated and biopsied. She doesn't think it will impact our surrogacy plans. OMG! Of course her health is paramount, but what is going on? What's next?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

But you're good people!

I did make it to the shower last Saturday, and it went as well as could be expected. My friend looks like she swallowed a basketball: she's all belly, damn her! So tiny otherwise. There were a few hard moments, but I got through them, and my friend would check on me every so often to make sure I was ok. She told me that she really appreciated that I was there. It's funny because it's not the gifts or the belly that bothered me; it's the overall sense of happiness and expectation as well as off-hand remarks. For example, my friend mentioned that she and her husband had noticed that pregnant women were everywhere on tv and they thought that was so funny. Well, I've noticed that too, and it's not very funny to me. And other little comments about how she's going to breast feed for as long as possible, remembering what it was like to get the "pregnant" on the digital, how she smiles when she passes the drug store where she bought her HPTs and how excited her husband is. Those comments were kicks in the gut. I know we've all been there.

Later on that evening, Husband went out with her husband and practically got into an argument over how surrogacy is definitely going to work for us and how we just need to remain positive, which brings me to the title of my post. I'm so tired of people telling us that surrogacy will work because we're good people. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. God knows I wish it did, though then I would be anxious about whether we would truly qualify as "good people." There are people I can think of who deserve that epithet more. What infertility has taught me is that life is not fair. Good behavior and acts do not equal being rewarded in kind with a good life. Karma never plays out like you wish it would. It's just a big crapshoot. Infertility has happened to us not because we're strong enough to handle it or because we are bad or less deserving or because it's part of some big grand lesson; it has happened just because it did. It's just the way the cookie crumbled. So believing that, it is incredibly irritating and frustrating to have friends and family think in such simple, black and white terms. There's absolutely, positively no guarantee that surrogacy will work, and that's just how it is. We're taking a gamble based on calculated risks and have determined that the odds of success are worth a try. Nothing more. And then how infuriating to have the befuddled friend, who has just had his belief system threatened by hearing that our status as "good" people has absolutely NO bearing on the outcome of this situation, preach to my husband how we need to remain positive. Fuck you! YOU have NO idea. And the funny thing is that my husband is the one who has the positive attitude. I'm the one who believes nothing will work. Ugh.

And then I vented about this to a slightly IF friend who has found success, J, and she told me that people mean well and are trying to help but don't know what to say. I appreciate the reminder since I tend to believe the worst of people lately, but I sort of felt like she was chastising me. Sort of like, "Geez, what more do you want from us? We're trying to figure out what to say to you and how to handle this situation and it's not good enough for you? How selfish!" Yeah, because it's about everyone else's feelings. Humph. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

New topic: I think I've mentioned before how I've always felt uncomfortable in my body like it wasn't meant to be mind. I'm clumsy, I don't move in it well, etc. Well, now I think the feeling is mutual and my body is rejecting ME. I got the results of my physical back yesterday, and my bad cholesterol and total cholesterol are slightly elevated (by about 14 points), freaking me out. They were normal last year. Ok, I eat honeydew melon and 1 piece of low-cal, high fiber whole wheat toast for breakfast. I eat carrots for a snack. I have a spinach salad with a little turkey and egg white with red wine vinegar and pears for lunch EVERY DAY. I work out on my treadmill for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times a week. I eat brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of normal. Yeah, I'm not perfect: I have steak and a hamburger every two weeks or so and pork chops once a week. I like roasted new potatoes. I like pizza. But I try to watch what I eat.

So I guess my point is that I just feel like shaking my fist at my body or the sky and screaming, "What more do you want from me? Must I give up anything that tastes good and eat only raw broccoli?" And if my cholesterol is elevated at 30, what's it going to be like in 20 years? I feel like I've had my fun and now I will have to buckle down and become a vegetarian :-( I know I'm being melodramatic, but I have been the picture of health all my life, and once I turned 30, I swear I started falling apart! I do have to confess that I did disobey instructions and added a little cream to my coffee before the bloodtest (you are supposed to fast after midnight and have only black coffee, water or tea), so I wonder (hope?) if that skewed the results. I've also read that my antidepressant may cause high LDL, so maybe it's involved as well. Probably wishful thinking.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April is the cruelest month

Thanks to JJ and her post on what would have been her due date for inspiring my post. One year ago this week I started stimming for my first IVF cycle. I was nervous and excited to finally do something that had a chance at working since all of my other cycles had been pointless. I don't think I expected IVF to work because that's just not my personality, but for the first time I had hope that maybe, just maybe it might. It could. It was the best shot we had so far.

I started stimming on April 7. Egg retrieval was April 18. 10 eggs retrieved of which 8 were usable. 7 of the 8 fertilized with ICSI. We transferred two 8-celled embryos on April 21 and were delighted that we had three embryos to freeze. The other two quietly expired. April 28 I started spotting at 7dp3dt and knew it was over because I always spotted around 10dpo until AF would come. The spotting continued all weekend and became a little heavier. Beta on May 2 was negative as I knew it would be though my progesterone was a decent 39. We had put the picture of our embryos on the refrigerator, and I loved to look at them, hoping one or two were settling in, but the picture became unbearable after the cycle failed. Husband quietly put the picture away in a safe place.

Sometimes it seems silly to remember all of these milestones because when you've been in the IF trenches long enough, every month is significant for some reason. Oh...April also happened to be the month I started my first Clomid cycle in 2006 after convincing my OB that my cycle wasn't going to regulate. That cycle was anovulatory which was as devastating in its own way in 2006 when I had no inkling of the true nature of our problems as the failed IVF was in 2007 when I knew IVF was our best and really only option. So, yeah, April hasn't been a good month for us. I like remembering the milestones, though. They are almost like merit badges I have earned if there were such a thing as an IF Girl Scout.

Thinking back to last year is doubly painful because at least last April we were doing something, and I feel like we are spinning our wheels right now. And if that IVF had worked, maybe I wouldn't be spinning my wheels right now waiting to get started with surrogacy; I'd have a 3-4 month old baby and have just returned to work from maternity leave. We might be considering ripping up the nasty carpet in our bedroom and the guest room or getting new couches because all of our money wouldn't be going to save for surrogacy. And I wouldn't be dreading attending my best friend's baby shower for her easily-conceived, first-month-of-trying baby girl this weekend.

Yeah, April is cruel.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Rough Week/Weekend/Month

It's been a rough several days. We brought our kitty home from the vet on Tuesday and things seemed to be going well, but then on Friday she stopped eating and started throwing up again. By Saturday afternoon she was throwing up every hour. Since there was nothing in her stomach, it was clear. Husband rushed her to the emergency vet, and I met him there after a very helpful therapy session. We waited and waited and waited, and my poor little girl was shivering in my arms. Finally a doctor was able to see her, gave her fluids and an anti-nausea/vomiting shot and said we could take her home. We had been told the next step would be an endoscopy, so we were happy when the doctor agreed to send us home with lots of medicine.

So far, she's doing well. She's eating and hasn't thrown up. She HATES the medicine, though, and we have to give her three types several times a day, so that's fun. But so far, so good. Keep your fingers crossed that things continue to go well.

But yeah, it's been rough. Last week was a horribly stressful week at work with several deadlines and I had a major school presentation with worry about my kitty underlying everything. Husband and I wanted nothing more than relaxing weekend and instead I feel like I barely got any rest. We didn't even have the energy to watch the premiere of Battlestar Galactica. I'm just so tired. It's more than a physical's like an emotional fatigue.

Unfortunately, we've gotten almost nothing done contract-wise. Hopefully we can tonight. My best friend's baby shower is this Saturday, so I'm preparing myself for that. We never got around to ordering her gift, so one of us is going to have to make the journey to Babies R Us to pick it up since shipping would cost about $50 at this poing.

There's been a lot of good news lately for those I know in real life as well as in the blogosphere. I'm happy for them, but...well, I'm just ready for some good news to come my way. Let me clarify that because good things have been happening in other areas. I'm ready for some good family news to come my way.